Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Superman (Vol. 2) #65

I've been gone for a while, so why not open back up with a riddle.

What do you get when you combine three trade shows, multiple four state sales trips, vendor and sales meetings, and a new laptop that aims to thwart you at every turn?

All over the course of eight weeks?

The answer, it would seem, is a woefully unattended to and neglected blog.

So I apologize for the the spotty posting as of late, but my day job has been keeping me hopping. I think I'm finally through the crucible and ready to get back into the thick of it, so let's just get to it and revisit the long delayed review for Superman #65.

TITLE: Superman (Vol. 2) #65


COVER DATE: March 1992


22 pages


The big memory I have of this title from its original release is specifically of me not reading it. The cover was striking, and it caught my eye on the shelf, but at this point I was mostly a Marvel guy and I didn't read the Superman titles. So I remember picking it up and thumbing through it, but I ultimately putting it back on the racks.

Little did I know that in ten short months I would be well on my way to being a regular DC reader, with collecting the Superman titles becoming a specialty. For those of you not in the know, Superman #75 was the culmination of the Death of Superman storyline. That issue is often tagged as the beginning of the end of the speculator boom, and while it may have almost doomed the industry, I haven't missed a Superman issue since so it must have done something right.

That, however, is a topic for another day and another random pick. For now, let's see what all the panic is about.

Head Man
  • Designer/Shaper: Dan Jurgens
  • Forms: Brett Breeding
  • Data: Hues
  • Hues: Glenn Whitmore
  • Navigator: Dan Thorsland
  • Architect: Mike Carlin
  • Superman Creators: Siegel & Shuster
This particular issue is the second part of the Panic In The Sky storyline. In the first part, Brainiac's skull ship has arrived at Earth and is wreaking havoc on Metropolis. With the element of surprise on his side, he's able to bring Superman to his knees. Not without a surprise of his own, Superman is able to break free from Brainiac's psionic assault with the help of Cadmus Labs. That's pretty much all we need to know to bring us up to speed, so let's see what this issue brings.

In deep space, the mysterious Metron is drawn to the planet Almerac. What he sees there unsettles even his calm demeanor, as he is witness to a planet annihilated and a population subjugated. Knowing the unmistakable signature of Warworld, Metron sets forth to warn the remaining populated worlds in its path, lest they suffer the same fate.

Unfortunately for him, Brainiac has other plans. In full control of Warworld, and with Supergirl and Maxima under his influence, Brainiac easily brings Metron to his knees with a psychic attack.

With his last bit of consciousness, Metron sends out his mobius chair to warn Earth as he lies defeated.

And if you were a space-time travelling, artificially intelligent chair, who would you go seek help from?

Why Superman, of course.

Still rebuilding from the previous encounter with Brainiac's ship, Superman is helping Cadmus dig out from the rubble when the chair suddenly appears. Barely do Superman, Dubbilex, and Guardian have time ponder it's arrival when Orion and Lightray come bursting through the wall.

With Motherbox as their guide, they're looking for Metron and are drawn here when his chair reappears. Superman explains that Brainiac is now in control of Warworld, and more than likely has Metron as his prisoner.

Ever the bastion of calmness and reason, Orion listens quietly and patiently as Superman and Dubbilex plan their next move.

Yeah, not so much. Barely do they hear about what has befallen Metron, and Orion and Lightray summon a boomtube to Warworld. As reckless and careless as their "plan" is, at least they're acting in character. If you can read the carryover dialogue box at the top of the panel from Superman, you can see that his great plan for defeating Warworld is to see how Orion and Lightray fare first.

Real heroic there, Superman.

So yeah, Orion and Lightray begin to lay waste to Warworld when they are stopped dead in their tracks by Supergirl and Maxima. Under Brainiac's control, and with the power of Warworld behind them, the two powerhouse heroines quickly subdue both of the new gods. Brainiac then begins to taunt Superman with another psychic attack. This time, using the image of his defeated friends to taunt him, Superman is driven to action once again.

Realizing that he needs to assemble his own strike force to take the battle to space, there's only one man who has the resources to get his team outfitted in time to intercept Warwold...Lex Luthor!

Sidebar time here...Not to derail things too much, but let's take a moment to appreciate the current state of the Superman books. Yeah, Superman may be well nigh unreadable, pandering to the lowest common denominator of ham-fisted emotional blackmail under the guidance of JMS...but at least we have Paul Cornell's awesome Lex Luthor in the pages of Action Comics. Back when I first started reading the Superman books, this was my Lex Luthor.

That's right...he was a bearded, well coiffed, philanthropist Australian clone of the original Lex Luthor. G'day indeed.

Being the good "mate" that he is, Luthor agrees to help and Superman begins assembling his team. First on his list?

Deathstroke The Terminator!

It's actually not as crazy as it sounds, for back in this time period Deathstroke had his own title and was played as more of a reluctant anti-hero rather than out-and-out psychotic villain. Still, I might have given Batman a call first. At least give him the first right of refusal.

Next up on the recruitment drive are two of the JLA heavy-hitters in Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

Although I'm not even sure that Luthor is going to be prepared enough to have two dolphin sized space-suits for Aquaman's friends. One maybe, but two? That's seriously pushing my suspension of disbelief.

After a few more pages Superman has most of his team assembled, which you can see pictured over here in all of their glory.

Proving that he will not be outsmarted, Brainiac strikes again before Superman's team has time to formulate a plan of attack. Waiting underneath the waves of Metropolis harbor, Brainiac's skull ship ambushes Aquaman as he swims into town for the big meet-up. Ensnaring him in tentacles (which I'm sure Aquaman has never had any experience with avoiding in all of his time underwater amongst the cephalopods of the deep), Brainiac's ship rises to the surface ready to lay waste to the rest of the assembled heroes.


First and foremost? Never decide to take a week off of posting on your blog, as a week turns to two, which turns to three, and before you know it two months have gone by.

As for what did we learn from this issue? Let's start with a reminder to not let Superman organize your next outer space strike force, as he's got an odd sense of which heroes work well in that environment.

Secondly, Dan Jurgens had been on Superman proper for a little under a year so far by this point, but he's already hit his stride and is defining the look of Superman that would dominate much of the 90's. I have a real soft spot for Dan and Superman, so I can't be sure that my opinions aren't overly biased, but reading through this issue makes me want to grab my Death and Return of Superman Omnibus off the bookshelf and start reading. Seeing as how I'm supposed to be getting this blog back on track, I'll leave the 800 page tome alone for now.

I've mentioned it previously here and here, but Deathstroke had one of the under-rated series of the early 90's, so it was a real treat seeing Dan's rendition of the character pop up in this issue.

Finally, Brainiac is one of my favorite Superman villains, so any story with him in any of his incarnations (yes, even the sideshow mentalist Milton Fine version) is a winner for me.

So to recap...there's too many things I like about this book that are completely subjective. Your mileage may very.

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) DC Comics.

Related links for your surfing pleasure...
  • You can find a nice recap of the entire Panic In The Sky storyline here.


  1. Hey Mr - welcome back and happy Thanksgiving!

    I think the world of Dan's work and I'm currently halfway through re-reading Reign of the Supermen right now.

    Being a guy who discovered DC through the Reeves movies and Kenner's superpowers I always used to do a mental high 5 when ever Brainiacs giant faceship appeared too. It's just a great goofy 100% comic shot of awesome that sadly got kicked to the side too early.

    Nice post!

  2. Hey Dan, thanks for checking back after my absence.

    You threw me there for a second with your comment, as I thought you were praising your own work on your blog before I realized you were talking about Dan Jurgens. Funny stuff.

    Yeah, Brainiac's skull ship is one of those things like Kang's costume that works in spite of itself...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

  3. Thanks Duy!

    It feels good to be back in the swing of things.